SEAT Ateca Review 2024

SEAT Ateca At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
It might be starting to show its age, but the SEAT Ateca is still one of the best family SUVs you can buy.

+Probably the best handling car in its class. Lots of room for those in the back along with a large boot. Good value for money. Range of economical and swift engines.

-No spare wheel as standard. Cabin design is a bit dated. Firmer ride than some rivals. No hybrid variant of any sort.

New prices start from £18,675, brokers can source from £21,980
Insurance Groups are between 9–18
On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure

The SEAT Ateca is the Spanish brand's first attempt at an SUV. Launched back in 2016, it was very lightly updated in 2020, meaning it's one of the oldest models in the hotly competitive family SUV class. It shares much with the Skoda Karoq, which is fairly obvious to see if you park them side-by-side. Read our SEAT Ateca review to find out all you need to know.

The most important of many rivals for the SEAT Ateca are the Nissan Qashqai, the Kia Sportage, the Hyundai Tucson and the Ford Kuga, though there are many more offerings, some with premium badges. 

Key to the Ateca's enduring appeal in the face of newer rivals is its driving experience. Even years on from launch you'd be hard-pushed to find a better handling SUV of this size, because the Ateca feels keen and agile in the bends whichever model you go for. The trade off is a firm ride that smooths out at speed. 

Even if you're not driving like your hair's on fire, you'll find the SEAT Ateca easy to drive and refined on the move. Visibility is very good, while it feels very much like a taller Leon (which it basically is). 

There's also a range of excellent engines, ranging from a 1.0-litre three cylinder that punches above its weight, to a punchy and economical 2.0-litre diesel. There's no real weak link in the engine lineup, although the higher powered petrols are fitted with a DSG transmission that is a bit dim-witted if you want to pull away quickly. The lack of a hybrid option also shows the Ateca up as an older model now. 

The low-to-mid level SE Technology is the best choice if you want plenty of equipment without breaking the bank as it comes with dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch touchscreen sat-nav, 18-inch alloys and wireless phone charging.

But whichever version you go for, you get a spacious and practical interior that'll stand up well to the rigours of family life thanks to solid build quality. Yes, the design is starting to show its age, particularly around newer offerings such as the Tucson and Sportage, but the simple dashboard design means everything is easy to use. 

We lived with a Ateca for six months - find out how we got on with it in our SEAT Ateca long term test. Looking for a second opinion? Why not read heycar's SEAT Ateca review

Ask Honest John

What is the best used SUV for £12,500 at the moment?

"What is the best used SUV for £12,500 at the moment?"
A used Kia Sportage would be a solid purchase. Your budget will get a 2018 model with the 1.6 GDi petrol engine. Don't dismiss the 1.7-litre diesel if you cover a lot of miles or are looking for a tow car. A Skoda Karoq or SEAT Ateca would be a good alternative.
Answered by Andrew Brady

My SEAT has both cambelt and AdBlue problems, but SEAT won't honour my service plan

"My SEAT Ateca 1.6 diesel has under 50,000 miles and is 4 1/2 years old (first registered January 2019). It is at my local Seat workshop for an investigation into an unusual noise coming from the engine bay and to enable them check the AdBlue system which is showing 200 miles to go before the engine will not start but it has adequate fluid in the system. The technician checked the AdBlue system and found it required an expensive new tank and sensors. He also removed the cam cover and found a damaged or badly worn cam belt - so bad that the technician would not restart the engine and pushed it out of the service bay to prevent a “catastrophic engine failure” (their words). They took photographs and sent them to VW. I was planning to replace the cam belt, water pump and pulleys at five years, so was very surprised at this news as every thing I read said 5 years or 140,000 miles. At its last service, on the 30th June 2023, I opted for a service plan that included an extended 2 year warranty. The service manager had tried on my behalf to make a claim for the AdBlue system and cam belt repairs but had been rejected as there is a “no claim within 30 days” clause and I received the news about my car on day 20! Any advice you can give me would be appreciated."
Despite the problems you have experienced it sounds as if the dealer is fighting your corner. We would suggest writing a letter of complaint to SEAT UK, explaining the situation and pointing out the advice you have had from the dealer and their efforts to get the work covered under your service plan. Although there is a no claim period with the service plan, the fact that you bought it at the same time as the vehicle was serviced would suggest that if there were any outstanding issues with the car these should have been picked up at this time.
Answered by David Ross

Have the issues with Volkswagen 1.5 TSI engines been resolved?

"Can you tell me if every 1.5 TSI engine in VW group cars have the kangaroo problem? I have been looking at the Skoda Karoq and Kamiq and SEAT Ateca between 2019 to 2021. Does it happen when the car is cold or all the time or just now and then and is there a fix? "
We reported on issues with this engine in 2020 which you can read about here: Most owners affected have reported that the issue is apparent when cold, while others have said it can happen at any time. Volkswagen says that the problem has been fixed with a software update and that anyone still experiencing issues may have an unrelated mechanical problem. If you are looking at cars with this engine it would be worth checking with the current owner to see if the software update has been applied and also conducting a thorough test drive from cold.
Answered by David Ross

What should I replace my Suzuki SX4 S-Cross with?

"I currently own a 2016 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross manual petrol. After 59000 miles of good service I am wondering whether to update. It was purchased to deal with rough rural roads and occasional snow, although the 4x4 ability has been used only rarely. Would all season tyres be as good as 4x4 with my kind of usage? If I don't stay with Suzuki, what alternatives should I consider? I would need something with a good reliability record and my budget would be about £10k plus the part ex value."
For rough rural roads and only occasional snow, a two-wheel-drive SUV with all-season tyres will be more economical and should be more than capable. A Skoda Karoq with the 1.5 TSI petrol engine could be a good replacement for your Suzuki. It's a very versatile SUV that represents excellent value for money on the used market. Alternatively, the slightly sportier SEAT Ateca would be worth a look, as would the excellent Kia Sportage.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a SEAT Ateca cost?

Buy new from £21,980(list price from £28,385)